Monday, January 14, 2013


My mom has this annoying time consuming method of making coffee. (Actually, it is the "proper" way to make coffee- the method used by the high end artisan coffe shops, but really at 7AM fast, hot, strong coffee is what I need, not artisanal coffee.)  First she puts a pot on to boil. Then she grinds some coffee beans. She prepares the coffee thermos and the drip cone and filter paper. When the water is hot, she first pours some over the paper, then adds the grinds and pours the water over them. Slowly the hot coffee drips into the thermos.

In the summer, if the whole family is in the house on the beach, then we need to pour hot water through the grinds 3 times to have enough. Just enough. The rule is, the first person up starts making the coffee.  Some summers it was a contest to see who would sleep in longest, just so they wouldn't have to make coffee. Usually I was the last up, which saved me the chore of grinding and pouring and waiting, but also meant there sometimes wasn't any coffee left.  And then I would just hop in my car and go to town for a cup of hot coffee from the bakery.

Last summer I was usually the first person up. (The person with the youngest child always wins that contest!)  So I made a lot of coffee. Grinding, boiling, pouring, waiting. Sometimes I made it too strong and everyone would complain. Sometimes I made it too weak and I had to start all over again. Sometimes I made it just right, earning a toast at breakfast.  Many mornings I wished for my automatic coffee machine at home, the kind we set up at night and just stumble up to and push a button in the morning.  Some mornings I wished for the freedom to just get in my car and drive into town for a cup of hot coffee from the bakery, for the chance to blast a song on the radio and maybe pick up the newspaper and a muffin and enjoy a summer morning in quiet. Usually I made coffee while listening to my daughter jumping on her grandparents' bed. (That was her job last summer- alarm clock.)

One morning I realized, I like making coffee. I like holding the whole beans in my hands and smelling that amazing fresh ground smell. I imagine that the beans were grown by our children's Ethiopian father. (We only drink Ethiopian coffee in my family, of course.) I picture his strong brown hands harvesting the beans.  I imagine the small bag he would save for himself, how his daughter would roast the beans herself, then grind them by hand in a small mortar, and boil water over a fire.  How he would take sips of strong, hot black coffee from a tiny cup, perhaps looking over his small field.

If I'm lucky, and the children are still happily sleeping or occupied by their grandparents, I take my hot artisanally made coffee out to the porch and look over the water. I think about coffee, and about Ethiopia, and about how we are all connected.

We are starting to plan a trip back to Addis Ababa. We are starting to think about how we will arrange to meet with our Ethiopian family. We are starting to save for the airfare (gasp! how expensive it is to fly!) We are hoping to strengthen the connections we feel for people who live so far away. We are hoping to share a cup of coffee with them.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Add your comment here. Don't worry about logging in... you can just use your name, and leave the "URL" box blank. Thank you! -Becky